• Opinion-lead

    Is it ok for ads to embrace sentimentality at Christmas time?

Opinion

Opinion: Yes Christmas ads are cheesy, but that's the point

Posted by Liv Siddall,

This week Liv Siddall looks at whether, with increased scrutiny on brands’ Christmas adverts, we should toss aside our cynicism for the festive season. As ever we’d welcome your comments below as well.

You may remember at school rushing into the classroom to talk about the fact that the Coca-Cola Christmas ad had aired the night before, a spot that has remained true to its format since anyone can remember and continues to delight as people believe it marks “the start of the festive season”. No one’s really sure why the lorries are arriving into town but we tend to accept it as the starting pistol for the season of overconsumption.

Tis annual advert has gotten away with it since the 1960s with no real backlash, compared to the extraordinary amount of hubbub over the reams of Christmas ads that appear now to the baying crowd of cynical Twitter users. My first guess would be that the Coca-Cola advert, while still desperately reminding you to drink Coca-Cola, isn’t trying wholeheartedly to make you start sobbing and feeling guilty for not loving your family enough. This year we have already been treated to some crackers, namingly the much-anticipated John Lewis Christmas ad — the third in a series of adverts designed specifically to pull on your cynical, urban heartstrings. 

Unlike the Coca-Cola advert, this story of a snowman (spoiler alert) trekking across what looks like Slough to get his snow wife/mistress some gloves doesn’t really make you think of Christmas – it just reminds you that you should probably voice your opinion online. The thing that it does have in common with the Coca-Cola advert is that it’s phenomenally cheesy.

But isn’t that what it’s all about? After a year of watching sterile, testosterone-fuelled car adverts in the cinema, and face-clawingly loud adverts for bleach, isn’t it actually quite nice to just sit back and be fed the TV equivalent of a Boxing Day cheese-board?

We’re all so used to being poised to criticise big-budget adverts that perhaps we’re forgetting that there’s a reason we watch Love Actually at Christmas and not in July and why we say “Merry Christmas!” to people we generally don’t like at this time of year — it’s sort of fun to be cheesy. These adverts, however unrealistic, are merely bringing that point home. 

comments powered by Disqus
Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on an interesting blog by Chloe Markowicz which suggests that people are ashamed to call what they do advertising. As ever you can join the debate and add your comments using the discussion thread below.

  2. Main

    Wake up! Freshers’ Week is done – all that colourful IKEA kitchenware your mum got you is nowhere to be seen and you’ve gained 478 new friends on Facebook and an awkward conversation with your home friends about who you’re actually going to Glastonbury with next year. To be honest, being a fresher usually goes on for way longer than a week. After a month or so of partying and drinking Glenn’s Vodka and Robinson’s out of tupperware bowls you wake up with a whole load of briefs to tackle and studio space and equipment to fight over. This is the START of ART SCHOOL.

  3. List

    In recent months the question of so-called spec work has been raised with us over social media in light of various design competitions we have helped promote. Off the back of that we have spent a lot of time discussing this thorny issue with various people so as to formulate a consistent approach, although the nature of these things is that each is best analysed on a case by case basis.

  4. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on the launch of the new Design Museum website and the strange suggestion that the redesign should have been given to a British agency rather than Dutch studio Fabrique. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  5. Opinion-list

    In the wake of the launch of Printed Pages Autumn 2014, Editor James Cartwright wonders and worries about the secret of designing a great magazine cover and asks for any handy hints you might have. Do him a favour and add your thoughts in the comments section below.

  6. Main

    In light of New York Fashion Week’s main event, a star-studded play put on by Opening Ceremony entitled 100% Lost Cotton, the It’s Nice That team began to ponder their own individual dream play, and what that would look like if they were given the chance to direct it. The results are pretty weird to be honest, but you can’t deny the appeal of each and every one in its own way.

  7. Main

    This week Editor Liv Siddall addresses the world’s distraught reaction to the announcement that MSN Messenger will terminate after 15 years in operation, and wonders if we should get so nostalgic and wet-eyed over technology.

  8. Main

    This week editorial assistant Amy Lewin ponders the cultural impact of the potential England/Scotland split. As ever, feel free to leave comments below.

  9. Main

    We’ve been posting music-related art and design articles on It’s Nice That since the very beginning. In fact the first music video ever posted on It’s Nice That is this one by Koichiro Tsujikawa back in May 2007. Since then we’ve covered countless festival posters and identities, record sleeves, band logos, ad campaigns and tour photography amongst pretty much every other kind of music-related content you can think of, barring only reviewing music itself.

  10. Opinion-list

    This week editor James Cartwright wonders whether it was right to remove the Chapman Brothers’ controversial sculpture Piggyback from a Roman gallery or whether it’s an affront to creative freedoms. As ever your comments are welcome below…

  11. List

    Last week we were duped into running a project on the site that turned out to be a hoax. Here Rob Alderson explains what happened and why it’s left an unsavoury taste, while James Cartwright disagrees and congratulates the artist on a spoof well done. As ever you can leave your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  12. List

    Two weeks ago we featured DesignStudio’s Airbnb logo. One week ago copywriter Rob Mitchell of We All Need Words wrote an Opinion piece calling for an end to convoluted brand stories. His article was cheered by some people and incensed others; Sam Peskin and Liam Hamill of VentureThree want to have their say and defend brand strategy. Again you can add your views using the comment thread below…

  13. List

    We were pretty impressed with the new Airbnb logo when it launched last week, but for a different perspective, here’s Rob Mitchell from We All Need Words. He tells us why he’s had enough of “over-cooked brand stories masquerading as strategy” and as ever you can add your thoughts below…